August 17, 2017

In order to find common Nafta ground, US, Canada and Mexico must begin by clearing for robots and automation

Shawn Donnan and Jude Webber quote Robert Lighthizer, US trade representative, having told negotiators. “Thousands of American factory workers have lost their jobs because of these provisions.” “Canada and Mexico rebuke US as Nafta renegotiation starts” August 17.

If Nafta members take notice of what robots and automation has done to manufacturing jobs, in all of their nations, then instead of facing each other as enemies they would be sharing a challenge.

It still amazes me how the recent American elections failed to recognize the job opportunities lost to automation. Had that not happened, Donald Trump would have had to speak about a Wall against robots instead, and would not have become president… not that that would have solved much either.

Jobs lost to robots and automation is not an easy problem to handle as it does produce good results too. If I was Nafta I would begin by asking my partners: “How do we make sure our grandchildren will be able to live surrounded by 1st class robots and smart artificial intelligence and not end up with 3rd class ones and dumb AI? That would be a real positive and constructive challenge for it.